Ordering and path constraints over semistructured data

Elisa Bertino, Ahmed K. Elmagarmid, Mohand Saïd Hacid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


Constraints are a valuable tool for managing information. Feature constraints have been used for describing records in constraint programming (Aït-Kaci and Podelski, 1993; Smolka and Treinen, 1994) and record like structures in computational linguistics (Kaplan and Bresnan, 1982; Shieber, 1986). In this paper, we consider how constraint-based technology can be used to query and reason about semistructured data. The constraint system FT ≤ (Müller et al., 1997) provides information ordering constraints interpreted over feature trees. Here, we show how a generalization of FT ≤ combined with path constraints can be used to formally represent, state constraints, and reason about semistructured data. The constraint languages we propose provide possibilities to straightforwardly capture, for example, what it means for a tree to be a subtree or subsumed by another, or what it means for two paths to be divergent. We establish a logical semantics for our constraints thanks to axiom schemes presenting our first-order theory constraint system. We propose using the constraint systems for querying semistructured data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-206
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Intelligent Information Systems
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2003



  • Constraints
  • Rule languages
  • Satisfiability
  • Semistructured data

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Artificial Intelligence

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